The timely reminders

11:40:00 PM

When I was younger, I listened to these Lauryn Hill songs almost every single day.Read it here. But suddenly I now feel that this song was actually sung in a totally different context than the meaning which I understood when I first heard this song.

My world it moves so fast today
The past it seems so far away
And I squeeze it so tight, I can't breathe
every time I try to be
What someone has thought of me

So caught up, I wasn't able to achieve

But deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny
I look at my environment
And wonder where the fire went
What happened to everything we used to be
I hear so many cry for help
Searching outside of themselves

Now I know His strength is within me

And deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny"

-Miseducation of Lauryn Hill-

"Let me be patient let me be kind
Make me unselfish without being blind

Though I may suffer I'll envy it not
And endure what comes
Cause he's all that I got and
Tell him I need him

Tell him I love him [tell him]
And it'll be alright

Now I may have faith to make mountains fall

But if I lack love then I am nothin' at all
I can give away everything I possess
But left without love then I have no happiness

I know I'm imperfect [I know I'm imperfect]
& not without sin [& not without sin]

But now that I'm older all childish things end
And tell him...

I'll never be jealous

And I won't be too proud
Cause love is not boastful
Oooh and love is not loud

Now I may have wisdom and knowledge on Earth
But if I speak wrong then what is it worth?
See what we now know is nothing compared

To the love that was shown when our lives were spared
~Tell Him by Lauryn Hill~

You see, last Thursday my cousin Cho Azalea organised a Quran Tafseer session with some of her close friends. Ustaz Dato' Zawawi Yusof was invited to lead the session. The session discussed the basic understanding behind Al-Fatihah, the chapter which Muslims recite the most in their daily lives. We delved into the meaning of Surah Al-Fatihah which is also known as Ummul Kitab, the Mother of the Book. The learned ustaz taught us that to put it simplistically, all the chapters in the Quran are actually interpretations and elaborations of the message God has condensed in surah Al-Fatihah. So basically, the surah is a summary of the whole Qur'an. The master index. It was a wonderful session that led to lots of questions from the attendees and I felt that the learned Ustaz answered every question with wisdom and knowledge, making sure everyone understood his points.

The session struck me with one simple yet inescapable truth:

there are so many things for all of us to learn.

I'm sure everyone knows this, but we need to have constant reminders right? I was thankful to be reminded of this again on Thursday. I'll attempt to share what the Ustaz has shared with us, or at least what I understood from his lovely reminders.

Humans tend to forget the essence of living. We were born on this earth, we build our own lives bit by bit until we lose ourselves in our own little world, and forget the purpose of our creation. And what is our purpose in life? We cannot answer that question ourselves, solely because we lack the sufficient capability to do that since we are the creation, not the creator. Imagine, as the learned Ustaz put it (and went to great lengths to illustrate his point humourously), asking a microphone the purpose of its creation. It can't answer for itself. Instead, we have to ask Sony or Sanyo, the one who invented it. Or the alternative is to read the manual ourselves to know what it's used for and how to use it properly. Or we can ask the people who have read the manual. You get the drift. We have been put on this earth with a purpose together with a manual and we must seek the guidance of that manual to know how to function and also to know the purpose of our lives.

I think its safe to say that almost everyone of us is too busy with our own lives chasing after the worldly affairs. But we all forget that life on this earth is very short. The ustaz reminded us that we must not be too short-sighted (to chase only worldly gains) or too long-sighted (forsake this world completely for the hereafter). There must be a balance because the affairs of the world is connected with the hereafter. Our actions in this world must be guided by honesty, integrity, and sincerity to make sure that we are on the right path.

Because at the end of the day, the questions we will be asked by the angels when we are buried in the grave cannot be answered by our mouths and by our minds, but only by our actions in the world. We will not be able to answer who is our God or Messenger if our actions during our lifetime did not reflect that of a believer. I did not know this. Seriously. I always thought that when we would be examined in our grave, it was a question that we need to answer then, not when we are alive. Five simple questions now suddenly sounds very heavy indeed.

The discussion was then open to questions which led to a very lively discussion on so many current religious issues, particularly the divisive ones. I think its alarming and worrying that these days, more and more religious issues divide us, even if they are very minor issues in the bigger picture, like the poco-poco and yoga issue recently. Disagreement over opinions quickly turns into hatred and enmity. The Ustaz's explanation is that friction comes when there is a lack of knowledge, understanding and the lack of common sense and the human touch to resolve differences of opinion. When there is a lack of knowledge, there is a tendency to amplify the small and not-so-important stuffs, and not pay enough attention to the important stuffs. The ustaz gave a lot of examples on the misunderstandings and disagreements pertaining to religion and how easily it can be solved. Most often than not, it can just be solved with common sense and decency, but knowledge is important. And its also important to appreciate diversity of opinion. There is no harm in accepting that one has a different viewpoint. This is very important but sometimes in the heat of emotion, we can easily overlook this.

When all these issues are explained by someone who has knowledge, I really feel that the religion is actually easy and simple. But sometimes we make it difficult for ourselves. Having being enlightened by this session, I now feel a hunger to seek more knowledge to improve myself. To better my understanding of religion and life and I need a lot of knowledge to improve myself, I feel so small.

It was just a wonderful night to reflect with close friends and family. We all have much to learn but the most important reminder was that we should and must try free ourselves of prejudice and misconception from something we do not understand or have proper grasp of knowledge. And if we lack that knowledge, seek it. And if two people of knowledge has different opinions, agree to disagree. Such simple steps but I think its not easy to hold on to that principle when we lose focus in emotions or in forgetfulness.

Don't sweat on the SMALL stuffs,when the BIGGER issues have not been resolved.

This is something I know I will have to improve on and hopefully this whole post is for me to remind myself when I forget.

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  1. you are so lucky to be able to attend such event dear. i think we all should put extra effort in becoming a good muslim and as a start is by strengthening our Aqidah kan towards Him?

  2. its really comes from your heart..hurmm,felt very humble and thanks sis for your entry! its really niceeee....and motivate! ^-^